Tag Archives: FINS

TAJIKISTAN : THE HEART OF SILK ROAD

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Tajikistan: cradle of civilization by Professor Anton Caragea MA, FINS , DR.H.C.

In September 2011 Tajikistan will mark the anniversary of 20 years of independence. It is a moment to contemplate with proud, as the country succeeded, in a short span of time, to build an independent administration, a powerful army, a strong economy and a society of social equilibrium and respect for citizen’s rights.

Especially the years of mandate of President Emomali Rahmon had paved the way for asserting Tajikistan role on international arena, for supporting the tajik art, culture and historic patrimony resurgence and are undoubtedly a renaissance era in the history of people of Tajikistan.

Tajikistan : a country that offered to the world an impressive legacy

This astonishing achievements in a difficult region could not have being possible without a powerful cultural base and a long tradition of statehood, of bright civilization and a rich history that proved that Tajik people are creators of wonderful crafts and arts. Tajikistan history is not confined to the last 20 years; Tajikistan must be reminded is the place of birth of fabulous Oxus Treasure that highlighted the heritage of Persian Empire and the craftsmanship of tajik ancestors.

Tajikistan is also the birthplace of Zoroastrism, faith that build an empire of fire worshipers and high moral beliefs from Tajikistan to today Pakistan and Mediterranean Sea.

Just a short counting of the Empires that have their political and cultural center in Tajikistan is impressive: Samanids, Ghaznavids, Kara Kitai, Mongols, Khorezem, and Timurid etc.  Putting in the spot light this heritage, offering to the world the information`s necessary to understand that Tajikistan is one of the top art and civilization creators in the world, with an important contribution to world heritage, it is a necessity.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, the fine intellectual Hamrokhon Zarifi- the author of  TAJIK ARTS AND CRAFTS TROUGH CENTURIES

To respond to this necessity the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, the fine intellectual Hamrokhon Zarifi had succeeded in collecting with a passion of the art collector  and the knowledge of the historian, documents, astonishing images and pictures of tajik arts and crafts trough centuries.  The result is a monumental book: TAJIK ARTS AND CRAFTS TROUGH CENTURIES offering, in the front of the surprised and unfamiliar reader, the images of a rich culture and of an ingenious and extremely talented people that leaved a clear mark on history.

The monumental masterpiece TAJIK ARTS AND CRAFTS TROUGH CENTURIES is at the same time: a complete inventory of art treasures and creations of tajik people, an exhaustive image of the traditions and historical influence of the tajik craftsman over the arts in all Central Asia and a repertoire of historic discoveries on the territory of republic of Tajikistan. In 19 chapters, like on a flying carpet, the avid reader will familiarized himself to the impressive art and civilization of tajik people.

Tajikistan art and crafts are a legacy respected for 2.000 years.

The books succeed the rare achievement of analyzing, through impressive photographs and clear descriptions, not only the art of tajik`s, but to related this with the history and with geography of the country. A chapter of embroidery will present you the intricate and luxurious tajik patterns, full of gold and precious colors. I will draw the attention of the readers to models showing the influence of tajik art on the Khorezem art (XII-XIII century) and Safavid Persia, moments when tajik art influence spreads from the banks of Amur Daria to Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf. The gold embroidery and jewelers design will prove that tajik craftsman and tajik patterns conquered the imaginations of the rulers of the world. From the Omayyad Court in Baghdad to the Chinese Emperor court the luxurious models of tajik arts and tajik specialists where attracted to the Asian imperial courts as a proof of the ingenuity of tajik craftsman`s.

TAJIK ARTS AND CRAFTS TROUGH CENTURIES also pays a special attention to the impressive national cloths, head wares and foot wears chapters. This chapters present to the reader in the same time the similarity of the national cloths of tajik people to the Central Asian national cloths pattern, but also pay homage to the ingenuity of tajik people who always knew to make something to stand apart from the crowd: either a splendid tree of life pattern, either a solar image, either a splendid Kara Kitai motive.

Reading the attentive historical and ethnographical explanation of the book, admiring the picturesque images included in the book you cannot wonder how Tajik people succeeded in making the transition from the small art, ephemeral art of cloth and house art, to the impressive big art, ceremonial art of palaces, governmental houses, summer houses and decorative architecture.

I cannot appreciate enough the legacy that a monument like Mir Said Hamadoni Tomb in Kulab is offering to the world: the architectural solutions used in this monument are a proof of the independent mind and wealth of knowledge of tajik builders and the intricate models of designed used to decorate the monument, to recreate the image of Islamic paradise cannot be matched.

It is also an important achievement of this book that is uniting the legacy of the past with the present day creations of tajik crafts and art makers that proof that the ancestors magic and craftsmanship is not lost and even today tajik people can create masterpiece of world level.

Kurramshahr Entertaining Center or Varzob Government Country residence are impressive paraphernalia, witnessing that tajik art is re-living today a new epoch of glory and recognition. The capacity of integrating the art monuments in the nature is one of the key of tajik success in art and resilience trough the centuries and Varzob Palace is a symbol that this capacity is not lost but is living again in the soul of tajik craftsman. The same is valid for the famous Teahouse in Khorugh that elevated wooden crafts to mastery creating a wood marvels that astonish by beautiful model the researcher of today arts phenomena.

TAJIK ARTS AND CRAFTS TROUGH CENTURIES it is a successful claim to international recognition of Tajikistan art, as a role model for the world and as an intrinsic part of humankind patrimony.

This book is the perfect gift for 20 years of independence anniversary of Tajikistan, announcing to the world that Tajikistan it a cultural patrimony household name, with a history dating back to more than 2.500 years, a country that made a powerful contribution to humanity patrimony and can stand with the head high and say: Tajikistan is a name that will always be recognized as the cradle of civilization.

EIGHT PREDICTIONS FOR 2010 by Dr. Anton Caragea

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EIGHT PREDICTIONS FOR  2010

It is in human nature deeply rooted the desire to see what is the future reserving for us. In the ancient times Sybille’s priestess in a cave near Rome interpreted the sacred Sibylline Book to see what the New Year will bring for Rome. Today the desire to know the future remain as strong as ever but the technique has certainly improved. Today geopolitics is here to help us guide our way in the next year. So what will bring to us 2010?  

The end of economic crisis?

Certainly something that everybody will like to see in 2010 is an end to the powerful economic crisis that is ripping havoc in international economy. Unfortunately 2010 is a decisive year in economy but with a double potential: to show the end of recession or to provoke another catastrophic fall. The economic dates are far away from a promising future. The US economy still has to face with the consequence of a real estate market that is suffocated by offers but also in lingering demand because of the strict policy applied by banks. Also financial sector proved his vulnerability to external pressure when the so called Dubai World bobble burst in November 2009 the New York Stock Exchange suffered a fall of 8 %. This vulnerability to foreign market will still be a major factor in influencing US economy recovery. Crushing stock markets in Asia or Middle East will sure happen in 2010 as the international banking system is slaw in offering collaterals and credit to pharaoh type projects that where starting before crisis and needs financing to be completed. These big projects are a sward with two directions, if they are not completed investor confidence will fall and as a result we will see depreciating values of stacks and bankruptcy if they are completed they will find a market already saturated and they will collapse.

A ghost is troubling the continent: Unemployment.

We all remember K. Marx beginning of Capital: a ghost is wondering the continent: the communism. Well now another ghost is showing here ugly face from New York to London: unemployment. The latest data from United States are crippling any hope of recovery, with 85.000 jobs lost only in December the economy of US is in severe shape and with more than 600.000 people relinquishing any hope for finding a new job the prospects seamed deem. In Europe the situation is even grey, German Federal Government admitted in November that the figures showing the German economy out of recession are exaggerated, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia face national bankruptcy and Spain, Italy, Ireland are fallowing closely and with national bankruptcy looming over Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria economy is still clear that Europe economy is continuing his downfall rapidly.

China and India: how long the miracle can last?

This year the only good news from world economy come from India and China that relied on a huge internal market (more than 1 billon each) to continue to grow in a down fall year. But this maneuver could not be sustained for 2010 economist predicts. Two are the main reasons: the grow of internal market demand could only be sustained by increase in wages that will affect both China and India competitiveness on external market. The second reason is that the internal market is not producing hard currency (dollars or Euros) that both India and China need for their developing economy but they only acquired more of their one currency with no value on international market. China and India continuous grow could only be sustained by cutting their economy from international market and this will be another catastrophe for international economy. In conclusion 2010 will be decisive in shaping the way for a recovery or for another crisis.

Democrats lose control.

In United States 2010 is an electoral year in which the democrats and republican will fight for control of Legislative. In this fight democrats enter on the lame duck position, in economy the financial support offered generously by B. Obama did not produced neither the necessary recovery neither the economic climate improvement, on international policy US troops are still embattled in Iraq, in Afghanistan a long war of guerrilla will claim his life toll in 2010 and Obama just make the monumental mistake in involving US military in a new conflict in Yemen. With none of his campaign pledges honored and a dire economic situation B. Obama is having little to show for, a situation that republican will get the best of it.

Israel – a new military adventure.

In Middle East the clouds of a new war are rapidly getting strength. In Israel an embattled Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is seeing his cabinet position weaker and weaker by days go done. Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman has found himself excluded for Mediterranean Union projects talks as a result of Turkey veto and Arab country refusal to talk with him for his extremist views (the most inflammatory remark being the possibility of an attack on Aswan Dam in Egypt to disrupt Egypt economy). Inside Israel the dispute surrounding construction in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is further weakening his cabinet. In this case as Ehud Olmert has done in 2008 attacking Gaza or Menahem Begin invading Lebanon in 1982 is clear that the cabinet will try to avoid collapse by launching a new attach in the region. The best target is Gaza already weakened by the 2008 war and by 3 years of total blockade. An operation in Gaza could dismantle Hamas and provide a strategic victory with little human life cost so probably this will be the next target. But also there are voice that suggest that an attack on Lebanon infrastructure will be more beneficial for Israel that economically bothered by Lebanon tourism and investment opportunity competition in the region. But is probably that Israel will restrain his goal at more achievable level and a strike on Gaza seems the most likely scenario for 2010.                 

Pakistan: between civilian rule and military intervention.

Pakistan situation is dire: economy fall by 20% percent, unemployment is huge (more then 18%) and banking system is showing sign of collapse. With the army engaged in frontier battles at border with Afghanistan and with a continuous line of interior attacks the last things Pakistan needs is a political crisis. But exactly this is what 2010 will bring.  The embattled president Ali Zardari was forced to relinquish nuclear arms control to his prime minister and also to face a corruption charges that could lead to his downfall. The only civilian personality that could take his place is former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But we must not forget that Mr. Sharif was deposed in a bloodless coup d’état in 1996 by the military and replaced with General Perwez Musharaf. Bringing him back to power will just mean that the history will be re-write. In any case if there will not be a political solution to Pakistan economic and political crisis the military will step in and this time with the accord of Washington that is eager to see stability at the front door of Pakistan at any cost in order to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan. A general that will promise Washington tranquility at the southern border of Afghanistan will be acclaimed just as Perwez Musharaf was in 2001 after September attacks.

Latin America.

2010 also witness another tension fleering up: in Honduras a coup d’état mounted by military in convergence with right wing politicians toppled the legitimate president: Manuel Zelaya, crush any civilian resistance and despite international condemnation consolidated there regime in illegal elections. This became now a study case in United States and the region where many want to see left wing politicians as Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa overthrown. The Honduras success receipt will be surely repeated in another Latin America country this year. The question is where?

In Bolivia where a so called independent state in the center of the country has elected a parliament and a government and tries to overthrown Evo Morales in a civilian and military coup ? Or in Venezuela where Hugo Chavez is now under Columbian army pressure, irregular militia that crossed the border from Columbia to attack Venezuelan objectives on daily bases and where United States just opened up military bases?

Finally Rafael Correa of Ecuador is also on the black list; Ecuadorian military trained and grown by United States is also shooing sign that could change lines. Where will be CIA next revolution in Latin America?   Newsweek citing informed sources from CIA announced that Venezuela is the prime candidate for a „freedom” operation in Caribbean.  

China`s decision.

2010 will also be a decisive year for China that will be presented in the Security Council with sanctions proposal for Iran and Sudan. Both countries are strong allies of China, suppliers with gas and oil for increasing Chinese demands and both countries have a tension relationship with United States. China will have to decide; to give a go ahead to future sanctions could spell clearing the road for war. Everybody remembers in Security Council the 2002 resolution against Iraq that threatened the Baghdad regime with serious consequences if they don’t comply. United States decided that serious consequences could mean war and launch the attack on Iraq. A similar resolution today imposed on Teheran will be just a final step to war. China seemed to be aware of this and will have to choose between open opposition to United States agenda or temporary acceptance of US demands. The present strategy of China of temporization could no longer work in 2010.

This are just of the few decision that international policy and market decision makers will be confronted in this decisive year between peace and war, crisis or recovery , coup d’état or liberty. The answer will be decided in the next 12 month. We will live with the consequence.

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS

CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE?

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CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE?

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Caucasus: the place for the next war ?

 

In the XIX century it was usual to say about the Balkan Peninsula that here is the powder barrel of Europe where all the wars are starting. In XX century the Russian and German ambitions where making the Eastern Europe the powder barrel of Europe. The XXI century seems to have (besides Middle East) his own soft spot: the Caucasus region. Here an explosive mixture of dictatorship, military ambitions, Islamic fundamentalism and rich natural resources is threatening the Europe stability.

Georgia`s open wounds.

Off course the first thing that is crossing our minds in relation with Caucasus region is the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. The war left the region in tatters : Georgia has seen disappearing all his chances to join NATO or European Union in the forcible future, the Georgian army was crushed by a rudimentary Russian forced proving that Georgia is far from a position of strength in the region. Not at least Georgia has seen amputation of his territory by the independence proclamation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both newly appeared countries are supported militarily and economically by Russia which is making any transgression against these two countries a casus belli. If Georgia does not relinquish his claims to this two regions will never be accepted to NATO and European Union, both organization requiring a prior settlement of frontiers as a part of any pre-joining negotiation. Now an isolated Georgia, a war ravage country confronted with street demonstration and an unpopular president with authoritarian tendencies is ready to embark at least in a war of words with Russia. In august 2009 a war of tension brooked out one more time between Russia and Georgia both trying to win a PR confrontation this time, war is a continuation of politics by other means used to say Clausewitz and Russian and Georgia are ready to continue their confrontation.

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 Frozen conflicts.

The Georgian-Russian war is not the only conflict that is casting a shadow over the region prospects on a normal development.   The north of Caucasus seemed to be one more time engulf in the flames of radical Islam. In 1999 then Prime-Minister Putin has build his career on crushing the Chechen rebellion. Now ten year after the story is again on the front page of newspapers; Chechnya is burning.  In Ingushetia, a neighboring republic of Chechnya has seen in the last months his president badly wounded and two ministers assassinated and a radical increase in terrorist activity. In the old wound of Chechnya the Kremlin prodigy Ramzan Kadyrov is confronted with an Islamic revival, a chain of assassination and attacks plague the country and make even the Prime minister reloaded Vladimir Putin visiting the region in a desperate effort to prevent a new war in Chechnya that could be fatal to his political stature. Let`s not forget that Chechnya war has destroyed Boris Eltin popularity and toppled two Russians prime ministers.

The conflict has spelt into Dagestan and North Ossetia menacing the pro-Russian leaders and the stability of a difficult region. A new war in Caucasus in a crumbling economy with a Russian unreformed army could spell disaster for Russian renewed imperial ambitious.

Azerbaijan on the frontline.

Azerbaijan is not enjoying a comfortable position on power struggle on Caucasus. With a large part of the population of Shia confession (the same as Iran) the Azerbaijan is observing with increasing worry the rise in isolation of Iran. If a war is to broke up in the region Azerbaijan is crucial: first his air space must be used for aerial attacks on targets on Iran, the country radar system must be used to control Iran air space and any missile interception system to prevent attacks on Europe and Israel must be position here. Already the Israel president Shimon Peres made a landmark visit to Azerbaijan (June 2009), described by Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs as:  „to reaffirms the strategic relationship between the two countries”.

Azerbaijan is sharing a long border with Iran, an important Shia population and a common history and is having important internal issues that make the country fragile, economic crisis seriously crippled the economy; corruption is endemic and democracy inexistent. In this difficult portrait the Iran threat made public by Iranian Chief of Staff , Hasan Firudabadi, that said that is regarding Azerbaijan movement as inimical and the Iran ambassador in Baku was recalled for consultation .An attack on Iran could be fatal for Azerbaijan in the present diplomatically  and economical construction.

Caucasus: oil and gas battle.

As if the geopolitical confrontation in the region is not enough the resources battle is at an age here. The oil and gas resources of Caspic Sea are poring from this region either to Russia, or to Europe, also the reach wealth of Iran in gas and oil could be exported to Europe only by this region. Russia is trying to secure his control on energy route on Caucasus by building South Stream pipeline, by dismantling independent pipeline and exploit the military victory over Georgia as an incentive to control the region resources. European Union is trying to find alternative routes and reserves of gases, independent of Russian influence by building Nabucco bypassing Russia as main supplier. But the Nabucco pipeline must go by Caucasus region and the gas and oil reserves  are also in the region so economic date are making the future of the region even more cloudy then it seems.

Caucasus is looking like a fragile region, with authoritarian regimes, economic corruption and under an ongoing battle for influence and power between Russia, United States, European Union, Israel and Iran. Will be Caucasus the new powder barrel of Europe?    

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS